Bid to make yard more attractive

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Councillors will discuss the progress of a plan to regenerate an area of a Kettering’s town centre to make it appeal to independent traders.

In Kettering Council’s Town Centre Action Plan, adopted last July, officials laid out a vision for the ‘Soans Yard’ – an area for niche and independent retailers.

The area – compromising Horsemarket, High Street, Dryland Street and Market Street – has undergone redesigns in the past year and will be discussed at the council’s Executive Committee tomorrow.

But despite a makeover of Market Street and a new bus terminal built in Horsemarket, council bosses feel the momentum will slow in the current economic climate.

Shoppers hope to see the area vibrant soon.

Joe Jarvis, 81, of Wolfe Close, Kettering, said: “I think it’s a nice part of town.

“I don’t mind what opens up there, as long as it’s not pound shops.

“There are many empty units in the town and that could put off businesses.”

Peter Owen, 67, of Barnwell Street, said: “I don’t know what shops could open there, hopefully not coffee shops.

“The pedestrianisation of Market Street has cut it off from the rest of the town.”

Paul Thomas, the officer responsible for regeneration in the town centre, said: “We have recognised the Yards area has a lot of potential, we see this area as being the focus for independent and niche retailers.

“There is already good stuff happening around the Yards – the repaving of Market Street and the new bus terminal at Horsemarket, and we have had recent developer interest in bringing it forward.”